A doctor at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown recently became the first surgeon in the country to perform a specialized robotic hand surgery.
Stacey Berner, medical director of the Hand Center at Northwest, used the Da Vinci Surgical System to fix the nerves on a 20-year-old who had put his hand through glass while on vacation. One of the man’s nerves had been cut in half and had large amounts of scar tissue by the time he came to Berner.
The Da Vinci system allows for more precise cuts and other movements during surgery, Berner said. It allows the surgeon to use more steady robotic “hands” elminating the tremors and shaking that are natural in human hands.
Sitting at a console looking through a view screen, Berner used two robotic arms during the operation that he operated with each of his hands. He contolled a third robotic arm using a foot pedal. Berner viewed the operation in 3D using the Da Vinci system.
Berner and other doctors believe the robotic surgery will have better outcomes for patients than traditional surgery because it will allow the doctor to reach smaller structures around nerves. Patients may also experience less blood loss and pain. Recovery times may also be shorter.
Berner said it is too soon to tell the results of the surgery on his patient. He performed the surgery July 23.
“I talked to him the next day and he is comfortable,” Berner said.
Berner trained on the Da Vinci system under a colleague in France.
The Da Vinci Surgical System has been used for other procedures such as gynecologic and prostate conditions, but has never been used for a hand surgery before.
The system is an alternative to traditional open surgery or laparoscopy surgery.